Gallons of ink (and millions of pixels) have been spent writing about Steve Jobs and the impact he had on Apple’s success.
What made Jobs a great leader? Was he a great programmer? Was he great designer? Was he a fantastic organizer? Did he have some secret ritual for coming up with magical ideas that captured the world’s attention?
Actually that last one is probably closest to the truth.
Jobs wasn’t a great engineer.
He wasn’t a great designer.
He wasn’t a great programmer.
Jobs’ genius was in his ability to think like the customer. Someone once said, “The quality-assurance guys are usually some of the lowest paid people at a company. At Apple, the QA guy ran the company.”
Jobs was obsessed with how the product occurred to the customer. What does it look like? Is it easy to use? Is it simple? What does it feel like? What’s the packaging like? How heavy is it? How does it make you feel?
While other tech companies put engineering first, Jobs knew that it didn’t matter how good the product was if it didn’t solve the consumer’s problem, and solve it in an elegant, enjoyable way.
This is not a small thing. It requires a completely different way of looking at your company and your product.
It’s not enough to focus on just making a product that does something. The Business Graveyard is full of products that executed a function as advertised.
Look at Microsoft. For years, they have continued to produce unwieldy, cumbersome products that are so jammed with features that the consumer hardly knows where to start or what to do with it.
Google routinely launches products and services that the marketplace says “No, thank you” to.
DJI makes the best camera drones in the world. But the obstacle course between “taking it out of the box” and “flying it for the first time” is needlessly (and annoyingly) complicated.
Jobs’ genius was that he was capable of pretending to see a product for the first time…..even though he was already intimately familiar with it. And he was relentless in his pursuit of making it easy, simple and enjoyable to use.
If you can make sure your customers actually enjoy using your product, you’ll go a long way to creating enthusiastic customers who will come back again and again.
What are some ideas about usability that you’ve added to your own business? Comment below!